Sunday, February 2, 2014

David Rudolph to Gentiles: "Like Yeshua, Our Mission is to Jews, not Gentiles"

A reader recently asked me to support my assertion that David Rudolph (UMJC, Tikvat Israel, Richmond VA) openly excludes Gentiles.  Of course, I was happy to do so as I think people need to know what the UMJC is really about.  Here is my response to the email:

"In Rudolph's sermon (4/13/13) entitled "Our Mission" he says the following:

“Some Christian leaders think it is wrong for churches to prioritize particular ethnic groups and that churches should reach out to all people impartially.  While we can understand the concern here that a non-Chinese citizen could feel like a second-class citizen in a Chinese church, the question remains whether God calls certain churches and certain congregations to particular people groups.”

“How can we know if HaShem does this or not?  To answer this query we must consult with our Bibles…”

“It is notable that Yeshua sends out his Apostles only to fellow Jews.”

“These twelve Yeshua sent out with the following instructions, “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans, go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.”

“What is our mission here at Tikvat Israel?  …Tikvat Israel’s is to build a congregation for Yeshua within the House of Israel…it is accurate to say that our mission is more specifically to build a congregation for Yeshua within the Richmond Jewish community.”

So if we synthesize what Rudolph is saying this is what we get:

(1) ethnic prioritization is Biblical even though it results in non-ethnic members feeling like "second-class citizens" (to use Rudolph's phrase);
(2) just as Yeshua's mission excluded non-Jews, Tikvat Israel's mission excludes non-Jews, seeking to build a community from within the Richmond JEWISH community.

Now, Rudolph will undoubtedly say I'm taking him out of context.  But I think the context of Rudolph's argument is fairly evident to a discerning mind.  

Hope this is of some help.

Blessings,

Peter"

Now, of course, if anyone thinks I'm mischaracterizing Rudolph and being unfair to him, please share your thoughts with us.  We welcome all points of view.  Unlike a Rudolph sermon, this forum is not monopolized by the thoughts of any single individual.  I do not and will never profess to have the title "rabbi".  I'm just a man who believes in Yeshua and who hates to see false teachers attempting to divide the Body of our L-rd.  I earn nothing from this blog--except that a reader (and dear friend) recently sent me some clothes, but beyond this I have not received anything for this blog.

Shalom and Shlemut to the True Brothers and Sisters,

Peter

38 comments:

  1. While it is true that Yeshua during his pre-resurrection life was "a minister of the circumcision for the truth of G-d, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers" (Rom. 15:8), who at that time never called Gentiles, Rudolph takes this moment of Yeshua's ministry completely out of context. Yeshua's ministry was to Jews exclusively but the purpose of this ministry was certainly that the Gentiles would be included through the ministry of his followers, once national Israel had accepted the Messiah. For the quoted text continues (Rom. 15:9), "And that the Gentiles might glorigy G-d for his mercy".


    When national Israel rejected Yeshua, the apostolic mission gradually shifted its focus on Gentiles. At first, this was done to make Israel jealous and give them a second chance to accept Yeshua, after his resurrection. This was the time of "the Jew first, and also the Gentile" (Rom. 2:10).


    When Israel persisted in its refusal to acknowledge Yeshua, however, Paul ultimately closed the apostolic project of a specific mission to the chosen nation, with his solemn verdict in Acts 28:25-29. In the later epistles we don't find the principle "the Jew first, and also the Gentile" anymore. There's only a universal mission for all who want to hear the Gospel. This is in accordance with the closing verses of the Acts (28:30-31).


    Today it makes no sense to have special missions to the Jews. This state of affairs will not be reversed before the time immediately preceding the return of Messiah, when a clear national Jewish remnant will emerge.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Synagogue of Satan, repent, offering up the blind as your sacrifice? Jew? "J"?
      Whom are u? Yah not know you
      Time short, the Day is near
      See u soon n...
      Eli Yah

      Delete
  2. Yeshua did send his disciples to the lost sheep of the house of Israel only during his time on earth, but after his resurrection, he told them to go into all the world. However, Shaul went to the gentiles, while Kefa and Yacov remained in Jerusalem to minister to Jews mostly.


    However, part of being all things to all men that I might somehow save some can include providing a space where people can feel comfortable and at home. I don't know why you would care so much that this or that group isn't comfortable for non-Jews because it is geared to meet the needs of Jewish people, as there are plenty places where you can feel comfortable and you are in the majority everywhere. Why would you begrudge Jewish believers a rare space where they can be the overwhelming majority?


    The Chinese analogy doesn't fit in my experience. I have been invited several times by Chinese friends to a Chinese church, and they are very kind and welcoming and don't in any way treat me like a second class citizen. But I am respectful of their culture and customs, and wouldn't imagine criticizing them or suggesting they change. And suppose I became a regular there, which I wouldn't, I am sure they would still treat me the same. But I wouldn't be bringing in hoards of non-Chinese with me to take over their congregation and change the purpose and nature of it.


    I know non-Jews love Jewish stuff. I don't need to go somewhere to do Jewish stuff, but I would love to go somewhere to meet with other Jewish believers. Jewish people who grew up Jewish have a way of relating to each other that non-Jews don't understand and often find offensive. So, the Jewish members, of course with leaders that didn't even grow up Jewish and are married to gentiles, are the ones who have to compromise. If I have to compromise to someone else's deal, I would rather go to a church where at least it is not filled with drama and conflicts and the people are normal. And if someone is going to call themselves, "rabbi," then they should have equivalent education of a traditional rabbi, not an online course.


    David Rudolph's mother is not Jewish, and I wonder if he has a Jewish wife or has also found himself a lovely blonde gentile with a Jewish star around her neck.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I would agree that I don't believe gentiles should have missions to the Jews any longer; however, they can support Jews who are seeking to reach their own brethren, if they can do so without seeking to call the shots. It sounds like you are spouting some form of dispensational doctrine, and you seem to forget that God is outside of time and none of the first century developments were a surprise for him; he didn't have a plan B up his sleeve since plan A failed.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It is not my position that Gentile Messianics shouldn't missionize Jews. In my eyes they should. But nowadays Jews are added to the Assembly of Messiah on an individual basis. This is something different from the project of national conversion that was running through the time of the Acts, in order to get the nation accept Messiah and thus set up the Kingdom.


    Although I don't favour classic dispensationalism, yet I'm convinced that some form of dispensationalism is inevitable for holding all the threads of the NT together. My main point is here that the Kingdom was offered to the nation of Israel since ministry of John the Baptist and this national offer of the Kingdom runs through the Gospels and right to the end of the Acts. It ceased at Acts 28:28.


    To deny all dispensational boundaries is not a sustainable option. Adam & Eve lived in the Garden in a state of nudity, which is clearly prohibited nowadays. Noach was permitted to eat meat, which wasn't permitted before the flood. Jacob was permitted to marry a woman and her sister, which is explicitly prohibited in the Torah. Divine revelation is a historical process of HaShem's dialogue with man, a process shows certain structural phases or stages. This doesn't at all imply the idea that G-d was somehow "surprised" by historical developments.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Princess, I appreciated the content and tone of your comment. However, you made an egregious error at the end when you wrote: "David Rudolph's mother is not Jewish." As a lifelong attendee of Beth Messiah Congregation (one of the places where Rabbi Rudolph received his training), a former student of his at Ets Chaiyim School, and a friend of the Rudolph family for many years, I will put it bluntly: you don't know what you are talking about. Rabbi Rudolph's mother is Jewish and grew up in a traditional Jewish home in Brooklyn. Really, it is shameful to cast aspersions on someone's identity as you have done. Furthermore, as a second-generation Jewish believer married to "a lovely blonde Gentile woman," I find your tone highly offensive and feel it even carries an undercurrent of ethnic prejudice.

    As for your speculation about Rabbi David's wife: it is no secret that Rabbi Rudolph is happily intermarried to his wife Harumi. To learn about the benefits intermarriages can bring to the Jewish people (either with or without conversion of the non-Jewish spouse) from a Messianic Jewish perspective, I highly recommend Rudolph's book Growing Your Olive Tree Marriage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All of you, polluted by the achievement of the Greeks,
      Division conquered all.
      Meek shall inherit
      The White Horse coming sooner than u can imagine
      Prepare the Way...
      Eli Yah

      Delete
  6. Can you post a link to the original source so readers to verify the content of Rudolph's sermon in context?

    ReplyDelete
  7. http://www.tikvatisrael.com/library/sermon/our_mission/

    ReplyDelete
  8. I attended Beth Messiah in Rockville from 1975 when it was still in Manny Brotman's basement, until 1981, when I left the area. Since I am on the West Coast, I am not privy (thankfully) to all the goings on and battles within MessyWorld.


    I knew Mike Rudolph, elder and attorney, and his wife was German and not Jewish. I don't remember their children very much. I believe Mike's wife had a German name like Inge?


    Of course you and "Rabbi," David should enjoy your lovely blonde gentiles. Just don't go around claiming that you are such good Jews, or that Messianic Judaism has made you a better Jew when it causes you to disrespect and dishonor Jewish women, and view them as less desirable and worthy as wives, and Jewish women are expected to smile and take it all in stride. Yes, I absolutely understand that a man would prefer a woman who worships the ground that he walks on because he is Jewish, and so gives her entry into this world, and not only entry, but validity. Honestly, it would have been difficult for me to respect, much less do obeisance to the pool of men I found available to me in Messianic congregations. The princess was raised to believe her husband would be a doctor, lawyer or Indian chief (mine works in IT and is Jewish) and there was something not right about the idea that I should consider marriage material, "I used to do drugs, but now I do Jesus." And while, "missionary dating," was discouraged, "social work," dating was praised, that is, date the screwed up guy and help him become decent.


    Although I can't control who my sons marry, I would not be happy to see them bring home, "lovely, blonde gentiles," an d so that is why I would never send them to a messianic congregation because they are filled with Jewish husband hunting gentiles. Older son is going to Israel when he graduates university in June, and mommy is praying for him to meet his wife there when the time is right.


    If you look at history, I don't see any benefits to intermarriages, except in rare cases. I am sure that a congregational leader wants as many people as possible to raise his status and economic base. So, I am confused. Non-Jews are second class citizens, unless they are married to Jews, and then it is okay? They then are given full status and acceptance? I guess he makes the rules to fit his own choices? If one's Jewish identity means so much to them, they will marry someone with the same identity, and their families will all be Jewish.


    Look at what happens: The child of mixed parents marries a gentile, whose children marry gentiles, whose children marry gentiles.....Next thing you know it is, "Oh yeh, my grandfather, great-grandfather, was Jewish.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I would add that I did date a non-Jewish guy off an on for a while before I met my husband. But I only dated him because there were few single, Jewish guys who were normal (i.e., not weird, employed, in the messianic congregations I was part of.)


    And sometimes it comes full circle. My son's best friend discovered that his grandfather is Jewish, and plans to go to Israel for a visit at the same time my son will be going for a longer stay. Although the friend would not be considered Jewish, he would be eligible to make aliyah under the law of return.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Yahnatan,


    What are your thoughts about the actual post?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Peter, thanks for posting the audio..., just listened and two points stuck out.

    Rudolph argued, that the reason the gospel is to go to the Jew first, is based on covenant relationship, something I completely agree with, I have always believed that was the point of Paul's argument as well, to the Jew first, then to the gentile. Why would God, not first go to those who are in covenant with Him? It wouldn't make sense. No earthly father would reach out to those outside of His house, before first going to those in His house.

    Since in Judaism, anyone could become a 'Jew' or anyone could join Judaism, this defies the ethnicity part, making the argument that 'Jesus was racist', an invalid argument. But it also defies part of Rudolph's logic, as it shows it to be a covenant issue, not a ethnic issue as is proposed later on by him. Thus ethnic prioritization is not Biblical, instead covenant prioritization is.

    The other point, is that of respected cultural differences. I have attended many different cultural churches, I have been blessed, having been able to travel the world and see many of these churches, in their different cultures. Yet there is a difference between a church enjoying its own cultures, and how it treats those in a community, or better yet, how it treats those in the Messiah. None of the many cultural churches that I have been to, would exclude those of another culture or ethnicity, yet in many of these circles a gentile takes a back seat in a Messianic Church, if you will, they cannot participate as members, simply because of ethnicity.


    If gentiles excluded Jews from churches, or their participation along with the rest of the community, that would be considered anti-semitic, but to do the opposite is just fine, lol. :P

    ReplyDelete
  12. James,


    I'd love to hear what you thought of Rudolph's sermon (no judgments, just purely interested in your thoughts).

    ReplyDelete
  13. To the Jew first was due to Israel had the greater transgression and therefore has the most to gain by Yeshua. "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance"

    One highlight though, "who loves most? He who is forgiven most"

    He did not come to destroy the lives of men, but to save them!

    Who has the greater sin, Jews or Gentiles? Let's keep the covenant relationship in proper perspective.

    "They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, which refused to hear my words; and they went after other gods to serve them: the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant which I made with their fathers."

    ReplyDelete
  14. I understand your point, but I think the accusation of ethnic preference or discrimination is mistaken. In the mind of Rudolph and his branch of Messianic Judaism their exclusiveness is just a case of prioritization based on covenant membership. Their idea is that Jews and Proselytes have covenant membership in a way Gentile Christians have not. And just as in Orthodox Judaism, Gentiles can convert in order to join them.


    I don't know Rudoph's theology in detail, but probably he makes a distinction between covenant membership by faith, which is related to gaining everlasting life, and a more restricted and juridical form of covenant membership, which is the privilege of the Jews, and which doesn't necessarily result in everlasting life. According to their theology this type of covenant membership is by birth or legal conversion.

    ReplyDelete
  15. As you know Peter, my thoughts are rather lengthy when I put them in writing. My blog post for Thursday morning (6:30 am. eastern time) will have my commentary on David Rudolph's sermon. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Leviticus 26, what is the privileged of the Jews for breaking the covenant?


    Horrible Horrible Horrible things!


    But, finally..."I will not utterly destroy them"

    ReplyDelete
  17. I wonder how many non-believing Jews visited Rudolph's congregation in the last year?


    I also wonder how many outreach trips Rudolph's congregation members took to non-believing Jewish synagogues?


    Dan

    ReplyDelete
  18. Dispensational theology stinks.


    They hold to Israel and the Church as two separate groups.


    I am a Jew of Israel, I am also a believer therefore according to dispensational theology I am a member of the Church, therefore I cannot now be of Israel because the church and Israel are two distinct group.


    So when all Israel will be saved, like Paul said, they all are going to become part of the Church and POOOFFF...no more Israel.


    A reversed replacement theology.....

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi Peter,

    The national identity of Israel represented Judaism as a nation of 'priests and kings' until Y'shua said, "Therefore, I tell you that the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to the kind of people that will produce its fruit!" The implication being that Judaism as a religion in the eyes of Messiah is being given over to individuals; "...the kind of people that will produce its fruit!"

    Even so for Brother Rudolf. His proposition of using both racial and religious bigotry as missionary tools is anti-Messiah. Reach out to the Jewish community? Absolutely. But separate the brethren based on ethnic or cultural lines is not supported in scripture. To the Jews first? Absolutely. But that has already occurred. The Jews WERE the first to hear the 'Good News'. Mission accomplished. There isn't a Jew alive that is not aware of Y'shua. Again, He isn't "unrecognized". He is denied.


    The national identity would be restored in the last days, as promised. But the religious identity has changed to individuals; Jew and Gentile alike, being one man in Messiah.

    I don't say this lightly. Messiah was clear. Those that deny Messiah, He will deny before the Father. Brother Kinzer is dead wrong in his proposition of "unrecognized mediation" by Messiah through the Abrahamic covenant. But this, like so many other dogmatic positions of the UMJC and like organizations, is heretical on its face. Why? The concept would make Y'shua a liar.

    I cannot think of a single scripture where Y'shua shilly-shallied, beat around the bush, sugar-coated, equivocated, was evasive, dodged, sidesteped, waffled, danced around or LIED about what was needed for salvation. What's more, He based all of His teachings on salvation on Tanakh!

    I just can't see lying to the Jewish people so that they would be more 'comfortable'. That's pulling a page out of the missionary playbook of the ancient Roman church. Now that is a steamy crock. They certainly will not be more comfortable if they die without their Messiah to mediate for them.

    Rudolf's proposition is a lie about the Body and about Messiah. But Kinzer's proposition is more anti-missionary than missionary. Think about it. It's like saying, "Don't worry about accepting Y'shua. It doesn't matter. He's mediating for you anyway!" What unmitigated manure. It really makes me a little crazy (I mean more than normal ).

    Divide the brethren, Jew from Gentile? I don't think so...

    ReplyDelete
  20. Great observations! High marks!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I don't know if you checked yet Peter, but my response to this blog post went online a few hours ago.

    For anyone considering commenting on my blog, please take a moment to read my comments policy. All comments must be reviewed and approved by me prior to being made visible. This rule applies to everyone even if you have commented on my blog before. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I look forward to reading it! Thanks for posting the link. Be well.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I will not read anything from you anymore. you proved to the world that you are nothing but מלכך פינכה . if you don't know what it is then Google. If you don't know what Google is then Google it....

    ReplyDelete
  24. Considering what's left of Israel (after they have recieved the penalty of breaking the covenant) has every reason to avoid pride and to return to G-d with a contrite and broken spirit, I see no reason anyone would object to the idea of the need to prioritize preaching the Gospel to the Jew first.

    I mean, if you have some food to give and one group is starving and another only hungry, would you in your mercyprioritize the group who is starving.

    If someone thinks they have the ear of the Jewish community in their area who is spiritually starving and in need of the bread that came down from heaven, why would anyone object?

    However, if the underlying spirit of the Messianic Jewish assembly is one of pride and superiority, and the claimed mission to advance Yeshua in the Jewish community is not real, but a way to remain seperate from believing gentiles, then that would only shame Yeshua.

    ReplyDelete
  25. The sages tell us that our father Jacob never died. “Since his children are alive, he is alive.”

    Each and every Jew is the personification of his father Jacob, and the heart of each and every Jew is alive and beating strong. To say about any one of them that he is spiritually dead is to pronounce our father Jacob dead. If to you it appears that way, the fault is in you, not in the Jew you observe.

    G‑d sees only good in them. He will make great miracles for them and they will be safe.

    -Rabbi Tzvi Freeman

    ReplyDelete
  26. James, but what did Yeshua say about this? His doctrine was not his but the Fathers. I've suggested before that you don't know the teachings of Messiah. You just proves my point with comments such as this. It is not I who pronounced those without the son as dead. It was the Father.


    Learn

    "And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life."

    "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."

    "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."

    And John:

    "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life."



    But of course, you have your own ideas.

    ReplyDelete
  27. This comment was directed at James (I'm just noting this because my blog comment system doesn't always make this evident)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hey James,


    I would post on your blog, but it seems I would be jumping into a shark pool. Having read your perspective, I think it misses the point.


    No one is against cultural churches, and there s nothing wrong with Jewish focus, I as a gentile have a focus towards Jewish ministry, nothing wrong with that, in fact, it is much needed.


    With that out of the way, the real argument is about community and fellowship within churches. Take away the 'Jewish Church' example and replace it with the Chinese or Korean, as you used the example. Would someone in a Korean Church, only be allowed to have a diminished role simply because of their ethnicity. I can tell you from my own experience, when I attended a Korean Church for over 6 months with my best friend, that was never and in any way the case. And I have never heard of such in any other Church, because it is against the doctrines of scripture, it creates a divisiveness and a wall.


    Community life in some Messianic circles consist of gentiles having a diminished role in the community, purely based on ethnicity. In fact, if the gentile converts to be a Jew, then they can have a full role within the community. In other words, a gentile can never be fully part, unless they stop being a gentile, that is a terrible message to be spreading, yet that is the message that is coming across. Thus it becomes a doctrinal issue, of how certain ethnicity's within the Body of Messiah are treated. Which is a dangerous thing to be playing.

    ReplyDelete
  29. If you want to copy and paste what you just said into a comment on my blog Zion, I'll be glad to respond. I don't want to try and have this conversation in two venues. Since I heavily moderate my comments, I promise not to let the 'sharks' bite you. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Zion,


    Wow! I love your comment, especially the line "...a gentile can never be fully part, unless they stop being a gentile, that is a terrible message to be spreading..."


    You certainly don't see Chinese churches sending this type of message.


    Great point, brother. And well said.

    ReplyDelete
  31. James,


    Just wanted to let you know that I read the post and appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with us. While there will be disagreements, I think it's at least positive that some sort of dialogue is taking place.


    Be well,


    Peter

    ReplyDelete
  32. No need, unrecognized mediation... :P

    ReplyDelete
  33. I think you are right, and this is why his church analogy is a bogus analogy, because he is essentially not claiming to be another church, instead truly that of traditional Judaism, making his analogy apples to oranges, he should simply state, that his view of gentiles, is that of traditional Judaism, minus anything Yeshua has done, this would more accurately portray his beliefs and it would be honest to those who might consider supporting his ministry, something I know, I personally would never support.

    ReplyDelete
  34. No one should discriminate. HaShem did say to the Jew first, BUT EQUALLY TO THE GENTILE! HaShem is all about equality. These racist messianics are fooling themselves if they think they are showing the love of Yeshua.

    ReplyDelete
  35. From what I have occasionnally read of him, I get the impression that he wants the traditional Church institutions to remain what they are, with the only exception that they should renounce Antisemitism and Replacement Theology, and should recognize Messianic Judaism as the proper way for Jews to express their faith in Yeshua. This idea, however, is deeply flawed. For many of the traditional observances of traditional Christianity are in to a certain degree inspired by Antisemitism. Take Sunday observance and Child Baptism for instance. If doctrine is purged without changing the practices which are historically rooted in it, then the problem is not really solved, or only cosmetically. But if the practices have to be purged too, then almost everything has to change and not much will be left except a bare Noachidism. So I think Rudolph's project is mainly a superficial effort to establish peaceful relations between the Torah observant section of Messianic Judaism and larger Christianity.


    Although from our One Law perspective we cannot subscribe to Rudolph's theology, we can perhaps view it as a first step towards bringing the Torah to Christians. If what he does really results in the acceptance of Messianic Judaism by the Church, then further steps may become possible in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  36. James, your writing today on your blog really moved me and was spot on with what the Holy Spirit is focusing on. I join you in refusing to neglect the word of G-d spoken by Yeshua Messiah. When he baptized me in the Holy Spirit my instructions were "read my sayings, read them again, when you think you know them, read them again."

    " Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

    He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

    All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you"

    ReplyDelete